Ultra Magnus in Transformers: Prime has been something of an oddball, essentially the reverse of everyone else in the toyline. The first toys we got of him — his Robots in Disguise and Cyberverse releases — were non-show accurate. Not that we knew at the time that he was even going to make an appearance in the cartoon. It wasn’t until his Beast Hunters release that we were given clues both about his appearance in Season 3 as well as his use of the Forge of Solus Prime. Granted, as a soldier and not a Prime, he was unable to use the hammer as an actual forge for creating things, he did show himself to be especially adept at using it as a battle hammer.
He was able to use it both as a blunt instrument as well as releasing a portion of its power to earth-rippling, Steve-shattering effect.
However, before he came along with his show-accurate, Forge of Solus-carrying, Beast Hunters release, he first showed up in the Cyberverse subline with a completely different hammer.
I originally bought Cyberverse releases for my display at work, but we recently shuffled things around to the point that I took them all home. Though I’ve stopped buying Cyberverse releases for anyone that I have a larger toy of, I now have one metric ton of these little guys that I don’t what the heck to do with. Except on a few occasions, I don’t tend to show the smaller Cyberverse/Legends releases when doing posts.
For Ultra Magnus, I include him more to illustrate a point.
Look at that hammer. Nice, isn’t it? Hefty looking mallet atop a handle that’s thin enough to balance it out nicely and long enough to be gripped two-handed. Then it converts quite cleverly into an artillery cannon to sit atop his alt mode.
The Cyberverse release does a splendid job of downscaling the transformation and look of the larger Robots in Disguise Voyager release. Minus the weaponry, Ultra Magnus transforms into a somewhat mundane flatbed truck
With weaponry attached, that unassuming flatbed turns into a deadly looking anti-aircraft truck.
The gimmick of the line forces the Voyager release’s hammer to need to not only transform but contain a light-up element as well. It does make for an impressive, if oddly shaped cannon, but in hammer mode all this extra bulk leaves you with an awkward looking weapon, rather than the simple, powerful look of the Cyberverse hammer.
They were at least nice enough to include a locking mechanism to keep it transformed into hammer mode, unlike many other releases in the Robots in Disguise “Powerizers” line. The Robots in Disguise release has a lot going for it. First up: it’s not a white repaint of Optimus Prime. Also, he’s stylish as heck.
The missile on his shoulder — hearkening back to his G1 toy — is a nice touch. It would have been nicer if they had included another one for the other side. He’s definitely not without his flaws. Those spindly balljoints at his shoulder are going to need some serious tightening up if he’s going to have any hope of holding his gun one-handed. Luckily for him, holding that massive weapon with both hands looks cooler anyway.
At this point, I was fine with my Prime Ultra Magnus. In fact, when they announced his Beast Hunters release as a remold of Prime Robots in Disguise Optimus Prime I was confused.
Why go from a brand new mold backwards into being a new head on an Optimus Prime body?
Because entirely new CG models are expensive as heck and at this point on the show, Optimus wasn’t using that model any more. Luckily for us, the result was an awesome toy; with some surprising additions and one odd subtraction. This may just be me but the very first thing I noticed when I got him was he had no smokestacks. This was despite showing on the box and instructions and having the holes where the mold’s smokestacks connect. This struck me as an odd cost-savings measure until I looked at his on-screen appearance.
What the what?!? His toy having no smokestacks is actually show accurate?
This bugged me. A lot.
Remembering I had a Robots in Disguise Optimus that had been outshined by two releases since and therefore taken up residence in a bin in a closet, I decided he certainly wasn’t making use of them, so I stole his smokestacks.
Much better. So, yes, I had now purposefully made the Ultra Magnus I bought for his show-accuracy less show accurate.
I regret nothing.
Ultra Magnus takes this mold and firmly makes it his own. To incorporate his iconic “shoulder pads” as Wheeljack “affectionately” refers to them extensions were added that double as missile launchers. The way they are set up actually gives the a decent amount of upward and outward articulation. Also, because of the way they are positioned, they can’t actually be fired in this mode.
They can only be fired when rotated down in robot mode.
Amazing how shoulder extensions, a new head sculpt, and a paintjob can completely change a mold. This actually uses the Arms Micron version of the mold as its basis, with the added Mini-con ports on the front of his alt mode, which become his forearms as a robot.
All three of these guys are wonderfully photogenic. Their headsculpts, with that practically trademark Ultra Magnus look of constant disapproval are wonderful.
One annoyance is that his legs panels have been reversed, not allowing them to peg in correctly. It is a simple matter to unscrew the legs and swap them, but these assembly errors do seem to be more and more frequent. You can give him First Edition Prime’s gun for a show accurate weapon as well.
I know what you’re thinking… yes, yes, but how about that hammer, then? (You weren’t? Huh. Well you should have been.)
It’s certainly passable as a battle hammer, but as the Forge of Solus Prime, it’s lacking a certain level of… gravitas? Is that a word you can use to describe a fictional hammer? I’ve seen images of Beast Hunters Ultra Magnus holding the hammer that comes with the Platinum Edition release, which looks properly impressive. Unfortunately, I only really want the hammer, not the overly large toy that comes with it.
The real surprise of the release is that rather than include removable plastic pieces to turn him into a true “Beast Hunter” like Smokescreen and Shockwave, he instead has a removable jet pack that looks a lot like Beast Hunters Optimus Prime’s.
It has multiple points you can store his missiles on.
It’s even engineered to incorporate into his alt mode, reminding me a lot of Transformers Animated Wingblade Optimus Prime‘s alt mode.
It also has a place to store his hammer in both modes. Speaking of which, what’s the final verdict on hammers?
I’m going to have to say the best looking battle hammer goes to the Cyberverse one. Unfortunately due to its relatively small size that doesn’t actually mean all that much.
Luckily, Transformers Prime is the first shelf where a majority of the characters are displayed as two toys. For all intents and purposes, I am treating Robots in Disguise Ultra Magnus as his pre-Earth mode and displaying them both, along with all the other regular and Beast Hunter combinations.